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Archive for June 12th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Mexico 2000 153m) DVD1/2

Aka. Life’s a Bitch

Gone to the dogs

p  Alejandro González Iñárritu  d  Alejandro González Iñárritu  w  Guillermo Arriaga Jordan  ph  Rodrigo Prieto  ed  Alejandro González Iñárritu, Luis Carballar, Fernando Pérez Unda  m  Gustavo Santaoalla  art  Brigitte Broch

Emilio Echevarria (El Chivo), Gael Garcia Bernal (Octavio), Vanessa Bauche (Susana), Alvaro Guerrero (Daniel), Goya Toledo (Valeria), Jorge Salinas (Luis), Marco Pérez (Ramiro), Rodrigo Murray (Gustavo), Gerardo Campbell (Mauricio), Rosa Marìa Bianchi (Aunt Luisa), José Sefami (Leonardo),

At the time of its release, Iñárritu’s visceral tapestry of modern day Mexico City was like a shot of adrenaline to the heart of Central American, and especially to Mexican, cinema, that started a genuine resurrection of interest in Latin America on screen.  I never saw the film in the cinema, seeing it for the first time on DVD, and have carefully avoided seeing it again till now, when it could be no longer put off.  The fact is that it is a film that it is impossible to like, a film that had a plot upon a house of cards of contrivances and coincidences.  That sort of thing is all well and good when, as is the case of Magnolia, say, the film goes out of its way to stress the very nature of coincidence in its narrative, but when it asks you to take it for granted, purely on faith, it’s a little harder to swallow.  Such is its power, however, it’s impossible not to take as an essential piece of cinema.   

            Essentially Perros is three tales in one, each cross-cutting at random points and hinging on one single event that brings all three unknowingly together.  One follows a young man who uses his brutish and downright evil brother’s dog to win money in dog fights to help him run away with his pregnant sister-in-law, who his brother beats badly.  Another follows a thirtyish model and her recovery from a road accident and how another accident leads to a sad twist of fate.  Finally, there’s the most heart-rending story, of a middle-aged has-been, a former married man who left his family, went to prison, became a hit-man and now lives in poverty with only his dogs for company.  (more…)

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